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MEDC Pitch Contest Awards Upper Peninsula Value Added Producers

Another big wave of support has made its way to Upper Peninsula value-added food producers! As economic recovery efforts across Michigan gather momentum, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is continuing to find innovative opportunities to collaborate with local partners to bring critical support and growth opportunities to small businesses. The U.P. Food Processing Pitch Competition was a collaboration between the MEDC, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Small Business Development Center, Michigan State University Product Center, and U.P. Food Exchange

Over 20 businesses applied from across the UP who were chosen to pitch their business to a group of judges via Zoom. Applicants included producers of maple syrup, kombucha, coffee, granola, bread, chocolates, pies, bread, bagels, sauces, and more! Awardees applied to receive marketing assistance from La Dolce Video & Design and Taste the Local Difference, business connections from Connect2Market and business consulting and product labeling and nutritional expertise from MSU Product Center. 

The awardees come from a wide variety of geographical locations and range from recent graduates to retirees. The one thing they all have in common is passion!

Here are the winners: 

Superior Culture Kombucha
Superior Coffee Roasting Co.
• Donckers 
Peace Pie Company 
Rozie’s Foods
Red’Z
• STAG Farms
Mackinac Bluff Maple Farms
• Rozina Dee Granola and Bakery 
Skinny Pete’s 
Teach to Taste 

You can read more about each individual awardee in this article from the MEDC. In addition to their official reward, these businesses now have connections to a wide variety of resource partners who helped put the event together and can continue to help these businesses even after the services are complete. 

These bursts of support have the potential to impact the local economy on a much larger scale, helping establish stronger connections within the industry, not only positively affecting these awardees, but helping pave the way for other small businesses. 

Alex Palzewicz is the Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator as well as the Market Manager for the Upper Peninsula Food Exchange Online Marketplace. If you are an Upper Peninsula Food and Farming Business looking to learn more about resources on funding, financials, grant opportunities and more reach out to alex@localdifference.org 

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